Throughout her life, my grandmother has only loved three American Presidents – Obama, Clinton and Kennedy. Of the last name, she never fails to rehash the story of how she learned of JFK’s death exactly 50 years ago today. Working as a secretary in North Carolina in November 1963, a co-worker sprinted to her desk telling her “The President’s been shot!”
Believing her colleague was referring to the president of the company they worked for at the time, she semi-jokingly responded, “Good!” To which her co-worker quickly snipped back, “No, fool, not him. President Kennedy!” From there, according to her, tears and anger filled many African-Americans in the days and months following because, aside from the civil rights leaders fighting for equality, JFK was one of the few white Americans with a true sense of power who gave a damn about the racial climate of America.
The video below depicts actual footage of CBS’ stalwart anchorman, Walter Cronkite, delivering the news of President Kennedy’s death to an entire country, breaking into an episode of the soap opera As The World Turns. Thirty-eight years later on March 9, 2001, Cronkite visited with Larry King. “It was the only time I got caught up and thought I was going to lose it,” acknowledged Cronkite of the single-most toughest moment he encountered on air.
“And I did for a brief second.”